Hey blog family, Chris Desrochers here. Several months ago I stumbled upon this simple poster: “Fast, Cheap, Good – Pick any two.” I chuckle each time I read those words because so many times our expectations fail to correspond with reality. It’s even more rare to have every expectation met in a single project or experience. In fact, I encounter these three very different priorities every time I choose a restaurant, when I book airfare and, of course, on every marketing project I undertake. Sure, we all know the old greasy burger stand down the street that is fast, cheap, and delicious (good) all at the same time. But in life, as in most negotiations, we must define our priorities and manage our expectations if we ever want to make progress.
Here are some simple things to manage your expectations as you begin your next project:
Some clients will tell me, “I honestly don’t know where to begin.” At The Winn Group, we love to educate our clients. We all have walked into a new restaurant and have asked our waiters for their recommendations. If you have no idea where to begin your project simply ask for a recommendation from an expert. But don’t stop there. Do a little research and educate yourself on the process so your expectations are rooted in reality.
Determine what you want versus what you need.
Sometimes the Achilles’ heal of a project is that the client never sat down and actually determined what they need verses what they want. The simplest way to do this is make a list. As you begin to think about a new project, make a list of the needs of the project and star the ones that are non-negotiable. Then, once you’ve nailed down the musts, move onto the wants or likes. Prioritize your list and then you’ll find that it will be much easier to clearly and concisely communicate your project.
Determine how you define the success of a project?
As Stephen Covey highlighted in his famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself these questions: What does success look like? Can success be defined quantitatively (numbers) and qualitatively (words)? What limits will my budget and timeframe have on the project? Defining clear objectives BEFORE you begin a project are essential to preventing frustration and actually achieving your project goals.
Expectations can be difficult things to manage. As nuclear physicist, Albert Einstein once said, “a perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.
Hopefully these simple thoughts will help keep your next dream project from turning into a nightmare.